In trying to figure out a Figure of the Week I decided to go with a holiday theme with it being President's Day this week and all. But just what the heck is President's Day anyway? I know it's the day we have no mail, the banks are closed and every car dealer and furniture store in America has a sale. I even know that government employees get the day off. But just what are we celebrating? I've never been to a President's Day party and most people I know still have to work. Most federal holidays are clear-cut. On the Fourth of July, for example, we celebrate celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. On the other hand, Presidents’ Day is a slightly strange holiday for three main reasons:
* There is no universal agreement on which presidents are being honored.
* There is no universal agreement on the actual name of the holiday.
* There is no agreement on something as simple as whether is an apostrophe in “presidents.”
Ask a handful of people who the holiday is meant to recognize, and you aren’t likely to get the same answers. In fact, what is generally called Presidents’ Day is still recognized by the U.S. government as Washington’s Birthday.
So how did this holiday come to be ? A little web research told me the National Holiday Act of 1971 passed by Congress created three-day weekends for federal employees by moving the celebration of some holidays to Mondays. Washington’s actual birthday, Feb. 22, became a U.S. government holiday back in 1885 but congress create a Presidents’ Day between Washington’s birthday and Lincoln’s birthday February 12. So, today, though the federal holiday is marked on the third Monday in February, there is no agreed-upon name, no universal agreement on who is being celebrated, and the use of the apostrophe in the name is varied: Sometimes it isn’t used at all (as in Presidents Day), sometimes it is placed between the last two letters (President’s Day) and sometimes it is after the last letter (Presidents’ Day). Put all this together, and it seems fair to see that Presidents’ Day, or President’s Day, or Presidents Day, is a slightly strange holiday.
No matter what the reason for this holiday one thing is clear the Britains figure of George Washington (#18010) is one beautiful figure. Sculpted by Ken Osen this 1/32nd scale pewter figure depicting Washington as a general in the American Revolution was originally issued in 2009 and is still available today. So happy happy birthday George and Abe and thank you for being worthy enough to be our FOTW.
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